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Word Blankets, Machiavelli, and Eating Crow
Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
September 13, 1999
We all know most politicians will say anything to be elected, and after the election empty rhetoric ceases and personal agendas are pursued. It's part of the game, and here in coastal North County we have come to expect it. Local officials have perfected the art of side-stepping conflicts of interest. Oceanside's Colleen O'Harra is the queen of that domain, and although he won't claim the title, Encinitas Councilmember Chuck DuVivier is the king. Personally I respect these folks because, like myself, they are true to their cause, albeit a much different one.
The elected officials for which I have absolutely no respect, are those who believe if they repeat a lie long enough it will be seen as truth. When a candidate who has never held public office makes statements, it is easy to give them the benefit of the doubt, because they have no record to prove otherwise. I was swayed by such a candidate, and boy do I regret it. Talking to Christy Guerin before the 1998 election she assured me that the status quo was out of control, and that she would fight for the environment where incumbents would not. She said exactly what I wanted to hear.
To be honest I figured Ms. Guerin to be a vast improvement over incumbents Lou Aspell and John Davis. I was wrong. Christy Guerin is exactly the type of politician Encinitas was trying to rid itself of, petty, uninformed, and lacking any environmental commitment. Although she continues to mouth environmental platitudes, Christy's words and actions never coincide in anything but her mind.
Last week in the press, councilmember Guerin stated that she is "concerned and dedicated to environmental issues," and to the extent that urban sprawl is an environmental issue that is a true statement. As part of the pro-development majority on the Encinitas City Council, Guerin voted in favor of a staff recommendation to allow the building of a greenhouse operation in Saxony Canyon, next to a riparian wetland that empties into Batisquitos Lagoon. Not content with being the flower capital of the world, she is comfortable with clearing away native vegetation to make room for the growing of houseplants.
In her campaign literature Ms. Guerin states, "We need to work with the Downtown Encinitas Main Street Association, our Chambers of Commerce and the Historical Society to best plan what would benefit downtown." Now, less than a year since her election, she has broken ranks with those groups in her attempt to place a new library somewhere more to her liking. Trying to move the library is at cross purposes to her campaign statement- "Revitalization needs to be completed while preserving the charm and originality of our downtown."
The most environmentally responsible place for the library is next to a regional mass transit station, if Ms. Guerin was sincere in her "concern" for the environment she would forget her ad-hoc committee and stop lobbying county officials to see things her way. There is absolutely no reason why the library can't be rebuilt at it's current site, The San Dieguito Academy has a library, all it needs is for the School Board that oversees it to allocate funds for it's improvement.
Last week Ms. Guerin was upset because she was not invited to a meeting between a group of Olivenhain residents and a representative from Senator Barbara Boxer's office. I, on the other hand, was invited but declined. Not wanting to steal focus from the plight of Olivehain residents, currently the most threatened by the growth at all costs mentality controlling Encinitas, I suggested that by bringing Senator Boxer's attention to the region we all benefit.
Never one to miss an opportunity to admit I was wrong (it's very freeing) I am embarrassed that I actually endorsed Christy Guerin in this column (10/29/98). Being a vegan eating crow is not my favorite thing. But when it enables me to shed light on the fabrications and Machiavelli tactics of someone I trusted not to stroke me beneath a blanket of words, it is worth it. I apologize to all Encinitas residents who cast a vote for Ms. Guerin as a result of my endorsement, in hindsight I realize all she had to do was mention environment protection, and I was swayed.
Personally I am encouraging any effort to recall Christy Guerin. I think that by placing a recall initiative on the November 2000 ballot, Encinitas voters will have a chance to vote on the real Christy Guerin, and not the stealth candidate we elected in 1998. It is my contention that by running on her record, instead of her words, perhaps Councilmember Guerin will no longer be allowed a seat on the dias.